Goal to end childhood hunger by 2015
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND (October 3, 2011) – Today, Theodore Dallas, Maryland Department of Human Resources (DHR) secretary delivered a progress report on the governor’s initiative to end childhood hunger by 2015 and accepted the “Public Supporter of the Year” award on behalf of Governor Martin O’Malley.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, 50.2 million Americans lived in food insecure households in 2009 — including 17.2 million children. Households with children — the most vulnerable among us — suffered food insecurity at almost twice the rate as those without children: 21.3 percent compared to 11.4 percent. Here in Maryland, nearly 210,000 children and young people do not have ready or reliable access to the food they need to lead healthy, active lives.
“Maryland has set an ambitious goal— to be the first state in the nation to end childhood hunger by 2015— and we are making real progress,” said Dallas. “In 2007-2009, 14.3 percent of Maryland households with children were food-insecure. This was below the national average of 19.4 percent for those years. ”
The governor has built a strong and growing coalition of public, private and non-profit organizations including state agencies (Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene, Human Resources, Education), the federal government (US Department of Agriculture), local non-profit organizations (like the MD Food Bank), advocacy groups, and the private sector (like Sodexo), who have worked together to create a five year plan for ending childhood hunger in Maryland.
Since 2007, there has been a 13 percent increase in daily School Breakfast participation and a 72 percent increase in the number of children (18 and under) enrolled in the Food Supplement Program. The number of children participating in WIC has increased 25 percent from FY 2008 (735,936) to FY 2010 (917,651), representing 181,715 more children receiving benefits.
The Partnership to End Childhood Hunger will continue work with community based organizations across Maryland to educate and raise awareness of programs that combat this issue. The goal is to reach the more than 200,000 eligible families who are currently not participating in these programs and to educate households on the value of purchasing healthy foods.
The Maryland Department of Human Resources (DHR) is the state’s primary social service provider, serving over one million people annually. The Department, through its 24 local departments of social services, aggressively pursues opportunities to assist people in economic need, provide preventive services, and protect vulnerable children and adults in each of Maryland’s 24 counties.